Monday, May 31, 2021

How to improve your photography - My top 3

   What would be the top three things for a photographer to own? Good and expensive gear maybe? I'd loved to shoot with a Hasselblad or some other digital medium format camera, but no, in my opinion gear is not on the top of this list. So what then? Here's my list:

  1. The ability to see! Usually a photographer can see of course, but what I mean by seeing is not just        seeing the obvious, but also being able to notice light, shapes, how the subject is related to the background, colors, what to include in to the frame and what to leave out, story etc. The list probably could go on and on. Camera is just an instrument to capture the light, but the photographer has to have a vision and to be able to see so that the image will have an impact on the viewer.

  2. Good social / communicating skills! Imagine a situation when the photographer won't talk to the model! Our talent might feel a bit uncomfortable during the shoot, most likely resulting in mediocre or even bad photos. But if the photographer is constantly communicating with the model, giving direction of course, but also talking in general about this and that, the model will probably feel relaxed and good in front of the camera and thus her/his performance will also be much better and this will be seen in the final images.

  3. Self-discipline! This also is important. It's not so that the shoots will always go as you plan. Your model gets sick and the shoot is canceled. You or the model is stuck in the traffic and you have postpone the start of shoot. Someone is just having a bad day. Often it would be nice to just go and shoot, shoot and shoot, but then you need to plan, you have to do some editing, keep in touch with clients and  taking care of the business side, marketing and all that photography related paperwork, and the list goes on. Only by showing some self control you can be a successful photographer.

  These three things are not available in the shop, you can't order them online. For some part you could have some tuition, maybe in form of a course, to shape for instance social skills or ability to see, but in the end the only way to own these three things is to practice and practice a lot. In the beginning it might feel difficult, but in the end you'll notice that these qualities or things will make so much more to your photography than a new expensive camera or a lens could ever could do. So hardware is nice, but it's not the only thing and most likely not the most important thing that will make you a good photographer.

  Last Friday I had a chance to practice number 1 and 2 on this list with Emma. A nice couple of hours in the center of Helsinki. Here's a few images from that shoot...


Monday, May 17, 2021

Saturday shoot canceled! How to survive?

   What could be more fun than have a Sunday shoot with a gorgeous model, nice surroundings and great weather? I had a shoot planned for Saturday a week ago, but what sometimes happens the model had to cancel the session due to feeling ill, and I would say that during the pandemic it's wise to backup if you feel sick. Of course I wasn't very happy because my shutter finger was itching and I so felt I want to do a shoot. In the last moment on Sunday morning I typed a message in a local tfcd-group. A last minute call so there were no high hopes, but you can always give a try. Surprisingly I got an answer fairly soon, Roza had time for a shoot! When planning for a shoot you always want to know where to shoot, and what's the theme or styling. For the canceled Saturday shoot the theme would have been a fantasy shoot, but with this sudden change I just decided to give the model free hands with the styling, with the only requirement from my part that it's a clothes on shoot. For the surroundings we decided to choose villa Sinnebrychoff in Espoo. There's some cool old buildings and a little piece of a forest, something fairly easy to use as a backdrop. It's always interesting to collaborate with someone you don't know, so I was pretty exited to get to know my model and see in what kind of outfit she would appear. Finally after a little confusion with where to park the cars we met in front of villa Sinnebrychoff. My model turned out to be a nice young lady who'd just finished modeling school. She'd prepared two outfits, one which I would define as a street style outfit and then she had brought with her a more ladylike skirt combination, both very cool looking! Even though it was somewhat difficult to find a place where she could change her clothes, we managed to use both outfits during those couple of hours. All in all we ended up with some images that in my opinion just rocks and some images very ladylike, taking my imagination to Jane Austens "Pride and prejudice" surroundings, and then of course we had some good time. So no harm done even if my Saturday shoot was canceled! Here's a few images from the shoot...


Monday, April 19, 2021

Photographic surroundings

  I used to think that what you need for a great photoshoot is not only a photographer, model and a camera, but also an epic backdrop, something that is overwhelmingly beautiful, massive or otherwise unforgettable. If you find one, not bad, who wouldn't like to do their photo session in such a place? The photographer is happy and the client is happy! But how about when you don't have such a luxury nearby, or at least you don't know the surroundings enough to take your model/s to that kind of a jaw dropping spot where you just can't mess up the shoot? 

  What solves the problem is positive thinking! Almost all places can be good backdrops for photography. It's not always what you show in the final image, but very often it's what you decide to leave out. On Friday our shooting location was in a part of city which I hardly knew. I drove a little bit around and ended up to this small beach kind of spot. Didn't really have interest to drive around, so I thought that if my model don't have anything else on her mind so we'll do the shoot there. Well, she didn't have any other thoughts so that's were we ended. I don't know for sure, but I think her first thought when we arrived was, what on earth are we gonna shoot there! But we did, we did the whole shoot there in that seemingly boring spot and the images we pulled out turned out to be awesome. So yes, it's cool to shoot in cool locations, but when you don't have one, just remember to think out of the box, it's not about the surroundings, it's about the subject. Here's some photos from that shoot... 

       Photographer: Georg Fagerlund - Model: Obrey

Monday, April 5, 2021

Where to find a model?!

    To master portrait or people photography you need to practice, and practice a lot! It's not only that you know your gear and how to handle other technical aspects, it's also about being comfortable with people and being able to direct them, to get out the full potential from a shoot and your subject of course. To practice you need another person unless you want to go the self portrait road. Family members, friends, they are all good choices to start with. At some point though you probably want to, and you really should, get out from your comfort zone and shoot people who you don't know that well. And how do you find a model then, a model who you don't personally know yet? One of the best ways to get in touch with people who'd like to pose in front of your camera is to join a tfcd-group in Facebook or other social media platforms. Tfcd stands for trade for cd. Guess that not too many photographers use cd:s to deliver their images to a client, so tfp (trade for pictures) or tft (trade for time) are used too, and they all basically mean the same, which is, "I have a camera and want to make images! If you'll be my model and give me some of your precious time, in change you'll get some of those images we'll make together to be used in your portfolio". Time and skills are the currency here, not money. So it's kind of a win win situation for both the photographer and the model. So, don't hesitate for too long. Get in touch with people who are willing to help you to be a better photographer. I got in touch with Kristiina through one of the local tfcd-groups and we had a great shoot on Friday evening. Here's some images I want to share with you...


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Light is light!

   One of the most essential things in photography is light! No light, no photos. When you shoot during the day and it's sunny, there is an abundance of light and thus it's fairly easy to make images. The challenge is to avoid to burn out the highlights and trying to get rid of too contrasty shadows (Unles that's your intention.). When we get to the evening side of the day the light amount starts to drop and the darker it gets you start have trouble with low light. What would be the solution? Artificial lighting is the easiest way to cope with lowlight situations. And what could be better than a speedlight or a strobe or two? So easy to add some punch to your images with one flash. When shooting in a fairly dark surroundings in the city there is though one more option to be used when it comes to lighting your subject. About a week ago I had the privilege to do a photo shoot with Emma. The chosen location was the surroundings of a nearby mall. In this shoot we used both the existing light only and a combination of both existing and strobe light. The challenge with the light you find all around you while walking in the streets is that it's usually fairly weak when it comes to photography. The further you go from the light the less it illuminates your subject. You can always open your aperture or you can raise your ISO, both having their drawbacks. One thing you can do, what we did, is to place your subject as close to the light as you can. This way you'll get the most out of the light. Here's a couple of examples...

        You still might have to raise your ISO for this kind of lighting, but placing your subject enough close the light source, you'll get most out of it and you still get to the ISO level as low as possible.

  How about a combination of strobe and existing light? Just choose a shutter speed that allows you to have some of that existing light shown and then illuminate your subject with a strobe as your key light. Simple as that! Here's a few images made this way...

    So in the end light is just light no matter if it comes from the sun, a light bulb or strobe! Whatever you decide to use, know your light and use it for your advantage!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Kun kuvaat tai oot kuvattavana - Pari vinkkiä!

   Kameran edessä oleminen on varmaan aika jännää puuhaa. Toisista näkee heti että ne ei viihdy yhtään valokuvattavana. Ollaan ikuistettavina kuin tönkkösuolatut silakat, kädet ei liiku, jalat ei liiku, kasvot pysyy peruslukemilla, olemus kaikin puolin epämukavuutta uhkuen. Tai sitten vedetään naama oletettuun hymyyn, joka todellisuudessa  näyttää irvistykseltä ja silmät aukeaa suuriksi ikään ku oltais ajovalojen yllättämä kauris. Tai ehkä otetaankin joku pose... peukku pystyyn ja irvistys, tai huulet tötterölle, se niin kutsuttu "duck face"-ilme. Näillä specseille kuvat harvoin onnistuu etenkin jos ollaan hakemassa edustavaa kuvaa, sellasta fotoa jonka haluaa näyttää kaikille ja huutaa et "kato, tos oon mä, eiks oo hieno!". Toki valokuvaajallakin on ihan oma rooli henkilökuvan onnistumisessa. Melko varma tapa ryssiä kuvaus on piiloutua kameran taakse kaikenkattavaan hiljaisuuteen, naksutella kuvia ja tuhista ja hymistä olematta minkäänlaisessa vuorovaikutuksessa kuvattavaan. Tai vaihtoehtona on käskyttää ja päsmäröidä, heitellä ikäviä jopa halveksuvia tai vertailevia kommentteja jne. Ei kandee kuvaajan odottaa mitään huippuotoksia sessiolta. Nää nyt tietysti oli vähän tällaisia ääriesimerkkejä, eihän näitä oikeessa elämässä näe... vai näkeekö? Toivottavasti ei!

  Tosiasia on kuitenkin se että me kaikki halutaan itsestämme onnistuneita ruutuja, ja jos me ollaan valokuvaajina, niin tietty me halutaan ikuistaa meidän kohde tai kohteet niin että ne kuvat nähdessään on et "WOW! Onks toi oikeesti mä!?!", ja positiivisessa mielessä. Joten tässä tulee pari pikku vinkkiä sekä kuvattavalle että kuvaajalle! Ei mitään rakettitiedettä, ihan vaan juttuja jotka jeesaa kun suljin laulaa ja salamavalot leiskuu...

  Harjoittele etukäteen: Ennen kuvauksiin lähtöä voi seisoskella peilin edessä ja kokeilla erilaisia asentoja ja kasvonilmeitä. Netistäkin löytyy vinkkejä mallina olemiseen ja sieltä voi hakea itselle toimivia ideoita ja ajatuksia. Sama pätee valokuvaajaan. Netin ihmeelisestä maailmasta löytyy kaavioita, kuvia ja videoita joista varmaan löytyy ehdotuksia joita voi testata. Usein voi olla fiksua testata eri poseja itse tai kiusata puolisoa tai ystäviä harjoitusohjaamalla heitä, niin että saa vähän tuntumaa oikeeseen ohjaamiseen.

  Puhu: Valokuvaamassahan sitä ollaan eikä puhumassa! Joo, mutta fakta on että hiljaisuus tekee kuvaustilanteesta aika ahdistavan. Etenkin valokuvattava saattaa ahdistua jos kuvaaja möllöttää tuppisuuna, ja se ahdistus näkyy varmasti kuvissa. Eli ennen kuvausta on hyvä vähän tutustua jos ei jo ennestään tunne mallia. Ihan vaan kyselemällä mukavia kuvattavasta, mitä tekee työksi, mistä päin on, harrastuksista jne. saadaan vähän jäitä rikottua. Sitten tietysti kannattaa käydä vähän läpi mitä kuvauksissa tulee tapahtumaan, keskustella ideoista ja toteutuksesta. Kuvauksen aikana on hyvä kertoa suoraan mihin asentoon haluaa kuvattavan asettuvan, ohjata suullisesti, ehkä jopa näyttää itse posen hienosäätöjä. Ja kehua ja kommentoida positiivisesti, sitä kannattaa tehdä niin kauan kuin laukaisin naksuu. Entäs kuvattava, pelkkä äänetön osa tarinaa, palanen muovailuvahaa joka ei puhu eikä pukahda? Kuvaajasta on ihan kiva jos malli osoittaa vastavuoroisuutta ja kyselee vähän kuvaajasta ja hänen elämästään. Se on sitä tutustumista, kanssakäymistä ja saattaa olla ihan turvallisuudentunteenkin takia kiva tietää vähän jotain pientä kameran takana olijasta. Kuvatessa myös ideat kuvausasennoista on tervetulleita ja en kyllä usko että monikaan kuvaaja tykkää kyttyrää jos kuvattava kertoo omia ehdotuksia poseista tms. Joskus myös kuvaajan ja mallin tahto kokee yhteentörmäyksen, ja jos ei malli halua jotain pyydettyä suorittaa niin sekin kannatta rohkeesti sanoa, niin ei tarvitse sitten myöhemmin kenekään harmitella että mitä tuli tehtyä.

 Huumori mukaan: Tää on tärkee juttu! Kuvauksiin ei koskaan kannata lähteä otsa rypyssä, sitruunoita syötyään! Jos niin tekee niin aivan varmasti koko setti on pilalla tai ainakin kuvauksista jää paha mieli. Hapan valokuvaaja tekee kuvattavasta epävarman, ja myrtsiä mallia on kiusallista ohjata ja kuvissa negatiivinen mieli näkyy. Eli posin kautta kuviin! Kannattaa nukkua hyvin, syödä kevyesti (Ei kuitenkaan niin vähän että vatsa kurnii kuvauksien aika) ja ajatella kivoja asioita ennen kuin kuvaukset alkaa. Kuvausten aikana kevyt hyvän maun rajoissa pysyvä huumori piristää... eli iso EI rasvasille jutuille ja henkilöön kohdistuvalle läpälle, sellaset ei varmaankaan paranna lopputulosta, vaan aiheuttaa todennäköisesti enneminkin kiusaantumista. Kaikki ei aina myöskään mene ihan putkeen välttämättä, rapatessa roiskuu niin sanotusti. Kun tekniikka pettää tai poset ei ihan onnistu niinkuin haluis niin sille kannatta vaan nauraa ja uutta yritystä kehiin, "elämä on laiffii".

  Eli tässä pari idistä jotka edesauttaa kuvausten ja kuvien onnistumisessa. Ens kerralla kun oot kuvailemassa tai kuvattavana, muista harjotella, höpöttää ja anna huumorin kukan kukkia. Pari viikkoa sitten olin Sinin kanssa kuvailemassa Auroranpuistossa, Epoossa. Kaikkea tätä yritettiin soveltaa ainakin jossain määrin ja kuvaukset meni nappiin! Saatiin kivoja talvisia ruutuja viehättävän mallin kanssa. Oikein kiva kuvaussessio oli ja iso kiitos siitä kuuluu mallille! Tässä muutama ruutu...